5/2/23: Reviewing the police

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

High 45°/Low 36° Rainy

People pulled over in Kalamazoo now have the chance to review their officers. Also: Kzoo leaders have approved plans to build more housing. And a downtown two-way streets plan will get public hearings later this month.

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KDPS offering satisfaction surveys

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) is implementing a system to allow people to “review” interactions they have with the department. Whether it’s a call to 911 or an interaction with an officer on the street, people who come into contact with the department will be able to leave a review of that interaction. KDPS is using a system called My90 to solicit feedback. As an example, if someone is pulled over for a traffic violation, the officer will give the driver a card with a QR code. The code will take them to a website where they can rate how the officer did.

Chief Dave Boysen told the Kalamazoo city commission Monday night that all feedback is anonymous. “[It’s] really all about procedural justice. Basically, was the process fair? Did you have a voice? And was the officer transparent in their actions,” he said. The system has already been in use for a month, and Boysen said the feedback they’ve gotten has been positive, with 90% of traffic stops resulting in a positive review. However, the data also shows that officers are far more likely to pull over people of color than white people, which is something he said they’ll be watching. The department plans to run the system for 90 days and then report back on their findings.

Kzoo approves housing spending

A lack of affordable housing continues to be an issue for the city of Kalamazoo. City leaders took a step Monday night toward improving the situation. The commission unanimously approved a plan for spending $2.2 million in federal housing funds. Most of the funds will be spent in low income neighborhoods to establish more housing. Officials expect to build 11 new units and rehabilitate 76 existing ones.

Despite that, city leaders said much more needs to be done. Vice Mayor Don Cooney lamented the fact that the federal government has slashed housing funding over the past 40 years. “We are doing the best we can with the little bit of money that we get. But this is a national disgrace,” he said. He called on federal lawmakers to do more on the national level to support local housing efforts.

Kzoo changes location of zoning meeting

A meeting to review upcoming changes to the city of Kalamazoo’s zoning ordinances is moving to a new location. Instead of being held on Wednesday evening at the Edison Neighborhood Association, the meeting will be at the Dormouse Theatre on Portage Street. The meeting time will still be 6 to 7:30pm.

The meeting is expected to draw a fair amount of interest. The city is in the process of reviewing how various pieces of land in the city can be used. A plan to allow commercial businesses on two parcels on Stadium Drive drew so much pushback, the city has shelved those plans. But plenty of other rezoning issues are on the table. Wednesday’s meeting is purely for informational purposes: city planners will be on hand to explain proposed changes. You can find more information on the city’s website.

Editor’s Note: Yesterday, we published a story regarding today’s elections. It indicated today’s vote for a millage renewal would fund the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency. A reader pointed out that is incorrect. The money raised by the millage would instead be distributed to local school districts in the area to fund their operations.

More News You Need To Know

Kzoo to outline two-way street plans

Two meetings this month will allow Kalamazoo leaders to outline their plans to turn Kalamazoo Avenue into a two-way street. The meetings will include draft plans of the change and allow residents to ask questions and provide feedback. The meetings will be:

  • May 24 from 4:30 to 7pm at Bell’s Brewery
  • May 30 from 9 to 11am the Catalyst Center

The draft plans will also be available on the city’s website. Officials also intend to post a series of short videos explaining the project, its history, and how residents can get involved. The project isn’t expected to get started until next year, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done beforehand. The overall goal is to make downtown Kalamazoo more accessible, safe, and attractive to visitors and residents. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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Jazz with Barry Ross, Violin, Terry Lower, Jazz Piano – Martell’s
5:30PM 5/2

Fiddler on the Roof – Miller Auditorium
7:00PM 5/2

Trivia night – Shakespeare’s Pub
7:00PM 5/2

Trivia night – Louie’s Trophy House
7:00PM 5/2

Built To Spill w/ Itchy Kitty, Prism Bitch – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 5/2

African American Quilt Display – Kalamazoo Public Library, Eastwood
1:00PM 5/3

Board Game Night – Niskers Bar
6:00PM 5/3

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 5/3

Calvin Hinds Live – Maestro’s Pizza
7:00PM 5/3

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 5/3

Muffins and the Market – Portage District Library
9:00AM 5/4

KNAC Press Conference & Free Community Concert – Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition
3:30PM 5/4

One Thirst: A Shared Journey – Living Water International
6:00PM 5/4

Beginner’s Guide to Roses – Wenke Greenhouses
6:00PM 5/4

Pizza and Pages – Comstock Township Library
6:00PM 5/4

Poetry Night w Iliana Rocha, Brandon Rushton, & Andrew Collard – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
7:00PM 5/4

Chicken & Biscuits – Farmers Alley Theatre
7:30pm 5/4-6; 2pm 5/7

Kitchen Dwellers w/ Sicard Hollow – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 5/4

See more upcoming events here.

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